The Watch List 2021: Week 11 Preview

Updated: November 11th 2020

Welcome to The Watch List for the 2021 NFL Draft season, a resource to help RSO owners identify the players from the college game that deserve your attention.  To view my observations, follow me on Twitter @robertfcowper.  Check back throughout the season as The Watch List will preview the prospects you should be watching each week so you know who will be fantasy relevant and worth your valuable draft capital.

Not only did we get “PAC-12 After Dark” in Week 10 but we also got “PAC-12 and Pancakes” with a 9:00am local kickoff between USC and Arizona State. It took awhile for the Trojans to wake up and they ultimately needed fourteen late points to win 28-17 against Herm Edwards and the Sun Devils. Oregon, Colorado and Washington State also notched victories; meanwhile Arizona, Utah, Washington and Cal had their start delayed due to covid cancellations. Unfortunately for our purposes in this spot, most of the top PAC-12 draft hopefuls have either opted out or play in positions I don’t typically cover (OL Penei Sewell, S Jevon Holland, OL Walker Little). I didn’t get to watch any of the PAC-12 action live in Week 10 so I wanted to comb through the opening week stats and see which draft eligible skill position players shined in their premiere so I know who to concentrate on in Week 11. (Caveat emptor: Week 11 games seem to be dropping like flies due to positive tests and contact tracing. It’s likely that by the time you read this article that some of these players’ games will be cancelled.)

Stephen Carr, RB, USC

  • Week 10 Stats: 10 carries, 45 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD; 5 receptions, 12 receiving yards
  • Week 11 Matchup: at Arizona (0-0)

Stephen Carr was first “a thing” for me back in 2017 when he leapt into the spotlight early in his true freshman season. He started with a 7-69-2 line against Western Michigan in his first-ever game and then followed that up with 11-119-0 against Stanford the next week. Carr hasn’t topped 100 yards since, in nearly three full seasons, and only has six subsequent games with double digit carries. So color me surprised when I saw a #7 scoring a touchdown for USC this past weekend. My first thought was: “that can’t be Stephen Carr still, can it?” Sure enough, it was. I last highlighted Carr in August 2018 when writing my conference previews. I singled Carr out as my underclassmen to watch. Unfortunately, my excitement was misplaced as Carr once again battled injury and lost out on the starting job. Carr was a highly touted recruit who earned a 5-star rating and a near-perfect 0.9889 score from 247Sports, so we know he has potential. I’ll leave you with some of my comments from 2018 which are still relevant today: “As a true freshman, Carr played second-fiddle to Ronald Jones last season but stood out to me on a number of occasions. He has a big frame at 6000/210 and I think his speed is deceiving because of his upright running style and long gait. Carr has to prove that he can stay healthy.” I’m really hoping that Carr can get through all six games in 2020 and prove that he’s worthy of a look at the next level.

Jermar Jefferson, RB, Oregon State

  • Week 10 Stats: 21 carries, 120 rushing yards, 3 rushing TDs; 5 receptions, 50 receiving yards
  • Week 11 Matchup: at Washington (0-0)

True freshman running back Jermar Jefferson was the lone bright spot on a dreadful 2-10 Oregon State squad in 2018. He turned in a 239-1,380-12 rushing line and added another 25-147-0 as a receiver. Those stats were good enough for Freshman All-American and PAC-12 Freshman of the Year honors. Like Stephen Carr above, Jefferson’s standout freshman season led me to picking him as my underclassmen to watch in the PAC-12 for the next season. Also like Carr, injury slowed Jefferson down, limiting him to just nine games and 685 rushing yards. Jefferson is healthy now and put in a valiant effort late in the contest against Washington State. Jefferson scored thrice in sixteen minutes to make a comeback a possibility but the Beavers ultimately came up short. Jefferson is small-ish but has above average speed, elusiveness, strength and contact balance. He may not be a sexy name or play on a sexy team but Jefferson should be an NFL contributor.

Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC

  • Week 10 Stats: 7 receptions, 100 receiving yards, 0 receiving TDs
  • Week 11 Matchup: at Arizona (0-0)

I featured Amon-Ra St. Brown earlier this year in my Spring Scouting series so I won’t go into too much detail here. Instead, go read my analysis and my love for him as a potential strong slot in the NFL. Admittedly, I had a preconceived notion of St. Brown as a “diva receiver” but that was disproved with my spring film study. In case we needed further evidence of St. Brown’s want-to and physicality, check out this block that was making the #DraftTwitter rounds this weekend.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, UCLA

  • Week 10 Stats: 20-40, 303 passing yards, 4 passing TDs, 1 INT; 109 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD
  • Week 11 Matchup: vs Utah (0-0)

DTR is one of those players who I like to call a “bio box-ticker.” He was 247Sports’ second-highest ranked dual-threat quarterback in 2018 when he committed to UCLA over other PAC-12 offers (plus one from ‘Bama too). He played at a big name high school, Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, where he won multiple state championships and a national title as an underclassman role player. He’s an honor roll student. Once he got to UCLA he started as a true freshman but was likely pressed into service too early because his passing efficiency was below average. Thompson-Robinson dealt with injuries in both 2018 and 2019 which caused him to miss time. Thompson-Robinson’s game logs have a few eye-poppers including a game last year against Washington State where he threw for 507 yards and 5 TDs while completing 65.8% of his passes. DTR started 2020 strong with a 303-4-1 outing against Colorado. I watched some film of the game to get a feel for his performance. Unfortunately, my takeaways weren’t all positive, but to his credit he did keep the team close in garbage time. He threw forty times, second most in his career, and only completed half of those attempts. Some of the downfield completions were hopeful heaves rather than precisely targeted deep balls. There was one bad mesh-point fumble near his own end zone that he luckily recovered himself. Three of the touchdowns were largely thanks to yards after catch. I did love how patient Thompson-Robinson looked in the pocket. I figured he might be a run-first quarterback based on his lean 6010/200 frame but I was surprised just how long he stayed in the pocket trying to find a receiver downfield. When he is on the run, he is quite quick. His early third quarter touchdown run went for 65 yards and there was no threat of getting tackled once he broke the line of scrimmage. Thompson-Robinson, a junior, needs more experience and refinement to his game but you can see his underlying physical traits. This time next year we’ll be discussing him as mid- to late-round project quarterback.


CJ Verdell, RB, Oregon

  • Week 10 Stats: 20 carries, 105 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD; 2 receptions, 30 receiving yards
  • Week 11 Matchup: Washington State (1-0); allowed 21-120-3 to Jermar Jefferson last week

CJ Verdell started the shortened 2020 season just like the reliable bellcow he’s been for Oregon since 2018. Verdell has back-to-back 1,000+ rushing yard seasons to begin his career in Eugene. In those two seasons he’s averaging 220 touches per season which is good for an average of 1,339 scrimmage yards and 10 TDs. At 5100/210, Verdell has a near-perfect frame for an all-around running back role; to that point, he’s durable and yet to miss a game in college. Against Stanford he started the scoring for the Ducks with a late 1st quarter score that tied the game and paved the way for Oregon to pull away. Oregon has a recent reputation as being flashy and fast but Verdell’s success is thanks to his power and willingness to run through a defender. Verdell’s signature play from the Stanford game is surely the below touchdown run. Verdell takes the option pitch, turns the corner and then weighs his options about whether to take it inside or go for the pylon. He chooses the path of most resistance, bowling between two tacklers and helicoptering into the end zone. Maybe even more impressive than the touchdown was the nice catch and run he had on his previous touch. The Oregon offense is missing the nation’s top o-line prospect in Penei Sewell (opt out) so continued production from Verdell this season will be even more instructive. Next up is a Washington State team that allowed the aforementioned big game to Jermar Jefferson. Verdell is probably a Top 10 prospect at the position and if he comes out as a junior he’ll be a part of our rookie drafts in 2021.


Notes: Heights listed are using a notation common among scouts where the first digit corresponds to the feet, the next two digits correspond to the inches and the fourth digit corresponds to the fraction, in eighths.  So, somebody measuring 5’11” and 3/8 would be 5113.  This is helpful when trying to sort players by height. Full disclosure, I am not watching film of every single game any player plays, instead I am looking for a representative sample.  There are a lot of analysts out there who have a deeper depth of knowledge about certain players but I pride myself in a wide breadth of knowledge about many players.  When researching my articles I use a number of valuable resources. I would recommend bookmarking the below sites:

  • Stats:,,,,,,,,
  • Recruiting:,,,
  • Film: 2021 NFL Draft Database by Mark Jarvis,
  • Draft info and mocks:,,,,,,
  • NFL rosters, depth charts and contract info:,
  • Draft history:
  • Combine info:,,,
  • Season preview magazines: Phil Steele, Lindy’s, Street and Smith’s, Athlon Sports
  • Podcasts: ESPN’s First Draft, The Audible by Football Guys (specifically episodes w/ Matt Waldman), UTH Dynasty, Draft Dudes, Saturday 2 Sunday, Locked on NFL Draft, Cover 3 College Football
  • Logos & Player Media Photos:
  • Odds & Gambling Stats:

Robert F. Cowper is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  He is a proud member of the Football Writers Association of America and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.  Robert works as a certified park and recreation professional, specializing in youth sports, when he isn’t acting as commissioner for his many fantasy sports leagues.

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